Keuchel, Altuve win monthly, weekly honors

Lefty top pitcher in AL for April; second baseman AL co-Player of the Week

Keuchel, Altuve win monthly, weekly honors

HOUSTON -- The Astros' terrific start has led to some hardware for starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel and second baseman Jose Altuve, who were on Monday named the American League Pitcher of the Month and the AL co-Player of the Week, respectively.

Keuchel, who started Monday's game against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park, is the first Astros pitcher to win the award since Wandy Rodriguez was named the National League Pitcher of the Month in July 2009. Keuchel went 3-0 in five starts in April, posting a 0.73 ERA and 22 strikeouts while allowing just 27 baserunners (16 hits, 11 walks) in 37 innings.

"There are some other guys around the league that pitched well, but biased as I am, I watched firsthand and the guy had to have been the best pitcher in the league for the month," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I'm happy for him to get recognized, very fortunate to have him on this team."

Last season, Houston had two players win an AL monthly award -- outfielder George Springer (Rookie of the Month in May) and right-hander Collin McHugh (Rookie of the Month in September).

Keuchel's 0.73 ERA is the lowest by an Astros pitcher through his first five starts of a season. Houston has won each of his last 10 starts since Aug. 24, 2014, which is tied for the franchise record with McHugh (2014-current), Roger Clemens (2004-05), Donnie Wall (1996), Nolan Ryan ('83) and Joe Niekro ('79).

"Any time Dallas Keuchel is on the mound, our team has a ton of confidence," Hinch said. "We believe in him. He's not always going to be perfect, but he's been close to it for these first five or six weeks."

Keuchel's one-run outing

Altuve shared his award with Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick. It's the first time Altuve has won the award, and he's the first Astros player to win a weekly award since Chris Carter was named the AL Player of the Week for the week of Aug. 11-17, 2014. Keuchel was also named the AL Player of the Week last season for the week of May 19-25, 2014.

"It's pretty nice," Altuve said. "I think that's the first time in my career, and I feel really happy because it was a pretty good week, obviously for me, but not just for me but for the team. I was able to get on base and help the team. We're living in a good moment now and will keep doing well."

Altuve's three-run blast

For the week, Altuve hit .467 (14-for-30) with seven runs, five doubles, one homer, eight RBIs, two steals and a 1.233 OPS. He hit safely in six of his seven games during the week, including five multihit games. Altuve ranked tied for first in the AL in hits and doubles, tied for third in runs, fifth in batting average and tied for fifth in RBIs and on-base percentage.

Altuve had an 11-game hitting streak snapped Sunday, a streak which included nine consecutive multihit games. That tied a franchise record set by Jesus Alou (1969) and Billy Hatcher ('87).

The 24-year-old leads the AL in hits (39) and ranks tied for first in multihit games (13) and steals (nine). In 2014, Altuve became the first player in franchise history to win a batting title, hitting a Major League-best .341.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.